Carlos Jiménez Cahua – Lima series

Peruvian born Carlos Jiménez Cahua grew up in the US, but a large part of his creative soul belongs, judging by his choice of photographic subjects, to the place of his birth. Most striking is the series ‘Lima’. His images are of an eerily unpopulated city-scape, where urban sprawl has spread into the desert. Sky, city and earth blend together indistinctly, the faded pallette almost devoid of colour. Any evidence of strong hues is then accentuated by contrast, as in the following two examples:


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A favourite of mine is this remarkable assemblage of structures – a box-tower necropolis seemingly extruded from the soil.

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The Lima of Jiménez Cahua is functional, shabby, it’s relationship with the desert uncomplicated and humble. To my eye it appears to have blown in from a former location. Then hastily erected and inhabited by a legion of ghosts invisible to the camera. Through the haze emerges a place that aims to make no bold statement, but does so anyway,  a stubborn monument to sheer necessity, pushed up from the dirt by a resilient spirit.

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Again, the dead appear to have more impact on the landscape than the living:

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This has to be the most captivating piece of civic art I’ve laid eyes on. Or is it simply a tree about to be planted in the middle of a roundabout? Wonderful either way.

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The words of Peruvian César Vallejo, one of the most innovative poets of the modern age, are appropriate companions to the photography. Extracted from “I AM GOING TO SPEAK OF HOPE”

– No one lives in the house anymore – you tell me -; all have gone. The living room, the bedroom, the patio, are deserted. No one remains any longer, since everyone has departed.
And I say to you: When someone leaves, someone remains. The point through which a man passed, is no longer empty. The only place that is empty, with human solitude, is that through which no man has passed. New houses are deader than old ones, for their walls are of stone or steel, but not of men. A house comes into the world, not when people finish building it, but when they begin to inhabit it. A house lives only off men, like a tomb. That is why there is an irresistible resemblance between a house and a tomb. Except that the house is nourished by the life of man, while the tomb is nourished by the death of man. That is why the first is standing, while the second is laid out.


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